The Buffalo Bills and Buffalo Sabres have parted ways with Executive Vice President (EVP)/Chief Operating Officer (COO) John Roth, and Senior Vice President and general counsel Kathryn D’Angelo, per a report shared on social media by Tim Graham of The Athletic. Roth was promoted to the role of EVP/COO this past summer, while D’Angelo was with the Bills for five years.
Graham states that the impetus behind the separations stemmed from a romantic relationship between Roth and D’Angelo. Per Graham, three sources who are close to the situation informed him that “D’Angelo reported to Roth, which created an unethical circumstance.”
If the timing seems odd, it coincides with the Bills’ trip overseas.
“Sources inform me they got too brazen in London and it became an issue that had to be addressed,” tweeted Graham.
Per a report by CBS Sports, Roth was just named EVP/COO of Pegula Sports & Entertainment, which has since been dissolved, back in January (2023).” He was promoted to EVP/COO following the departure of then-EVP/COO Ron Raccuia this past July.
Leadership has immediately begun the process of scouting and interviewing new candidates to succeed both Roth and D’Angelo.
Three sources close to the situation inform me Roth and D’Angelo were in a romantic relationship. D’Angelo reported to Roth, which created an unethical circumstance. The firings were abrupt.— Tim Graham (@ByTimGraham) October 11, 2023
Notably, the Bills/Sabres are conducting an EXTERNAL search for replacements. https://t.co/ge9YXvpCc9
Roth had rapidly ascended within the corporate ranks at One Bills Drive, with The Buffalo News describing Roth as “a longtime friend and investment manager of team owner Terry Pegula.” The News article described Roth as “the most influential executive outside of the Pegula family on the business side of both the Bills and Sabres.”
Ross was apparently hired by Pegula without having any prior professional sports management experience — due in large part to their familiarity with one another via Roth’s previous role in money management at Fidelity.
At the announcement of Roth’s initial hiring early in 2023 Pegula said that he had “continuously shown exemplary leadership traits,” adding that “he brings to the table a vast wealth of knowledge and business experience.”
By the end of August, Bills/Sabres co-owner and president Terry Pegula announced the dissolution of Pegula Sports & Entertainment. The restructuring came a month after naming Roth as EVP/COO of the Buffalo Bills.
At the time, it was reported that Pegula was to work closely with Roth on business matters with the Sabres. Additionally, Roth oversaw ticketing, business development, as well as media and content departments for the Bills.
For what it’s worth, the pair spoke with the Associated Press and are still rooting for the Bills and the Sabres, so there doesn’t appear to be bad blood.